5 ways coronavirus will change the future of travel

Mar 28, 2020

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In just a few short weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down. What once seemed like a distant threat is now a global battle that we’re all on the front lines of. Everyone’s life has been impacted but one industry taking an especially hard hit is the travel industry.

The outbreak has resulted in serious losses across the industry: airlines around the globe have slashed their schedules as passenger traffic has dried up, cruise lines have halted operations for months to come, entire hotels have been forced to shut down, and thousands of workers within the industry have been laid-off.

TPG has built a community based off of one common connection — a love for travel and seeing the world. Sadly, travel is currently on hold and that’s something we can all collectively mourn over among the many other terrible things happening right now.

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One thing we’re certain of is that coronavirus will most definitely change the future of travel. And though we may not see it yet, there’s going to be some positives that come out of all of this. Looking ahead, I’m hopeful that this global crisis will bring the world together.

Here are a few ways we’re betting the future of travel will change once coronavirus is safely behind us.

Hygiene and sanitation will get the attention they deserve

If there’s one lesson everyone should take away from this, it should be an understanding of just how important personal hygiene and public sanitation is. TPG Senior Editor Brendan Dorsey shared, “I’m definitely going to be much more hygienic going forward — wiping down airplane seats and washing hands much more frequently.”

If you weren’t a habitual hand washer before, we’re betting you’ll become one now. And those “germaphobes” who regularly wiped down their airplane seats? They won’t seem so crazy after all. It’s Naomi Campbell-style from here on out (minus the hazmat suit).

Related: Cleaner skies ahead: The unexpected way that coronavirus is transforming the airline industry

Beyond taking personal precautions, we’re betting that the travel industry will also take note. That means more regularly scheduled deep cleans of aircraft and hotel rooms and maybe even some new health guidelines for workers with high contact jobs like flight attendants and TSA workers. And what would be really great is if deep cleans of public transit systems, like the NYC subway, became the norm. After all this, it doesn’t seem like a totally ridiculous ask.

Outdoor adventures will be in high demand

Taken down at Schwabacher Landing last week. Pretty nice sunrise and had the place to myself. I waded over through some marsh to capture these wildflowers as well as catch the reflection of the top of the Grand and Teewinot in the Snake River pool. (Photo by Steve Burns/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Burns/Getty Images)

After all this time at home, travelers are going to be craving fresh air and lots of it. I’m betting that the National Parks and campgrounds will see an increase in visitors once this is all over. And for those who aren’t the camping type, I could see glamping become popular again. In fact, even Marriott has entered the glamping market. With that, I could see travelers investing in more recreational activities like white-water rafting to keep themselves occupied while traveling to more remote destinations.

Travel will become more meaningful

It’s only been a few weeks now, but it will take some time before travel picks back up to the way it was before all of this. This will leave a lot of people feeling especially wanderlust-y, and give frequent travelers time to reflect on what they do and don’t miss about traveling.

Related: 11 ways to make every trip you take more meaningful 

Perhaps the business traveler will place an emphasis on taking more family trips. Maybe the country counter will decide it’s time to give back. Maybe the solo traveler will decide they want to start sharing experiences with loved ones. This break from travel will only make us all appreciate hitting the road (and taking to the skies) even more.

Americans will start to take advantage of paid time off

The U.S. is infamous for having poor paid time off (PTO) policies compared to other countries but even with a limited amount of days off, many Americans still don’t take full advantage of it. In fact, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association, 768 million days went unused and 236 million were completely forfeited in 2018 — that’s a lot of unused time.

Related: How to make your dream trip a reality 

Going along with travel becoming more meaningful, we think that Americans will start to value their vacation time even more. Hopefully those who have missed out in the past will have more time to plan a trip for the future and take advantage of proper time off.

Road trips will become more popular

I know AvGeeks may not agree with me on this one, but I have a feeling that more Americans will start to road trip while we all wait for the airline services to pick back up. Beyond that, travelers — especially those with underlying health issues — might be skeptical to fly at first in fear of all the social interaction that comes along with it from security, to the gate, to sitting next to strangers in a small metal tube, and so on.

It’s the perfect time to finally plan and take one of those great American road trips that everyone always talks about.

What do you think will change in the coming months and years?

Featured photo by Qi Yang/Getty Images.

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